Rural Emilia is a landscape dotted with farms that resist the passage of time, “a yellow patch of sunflowers” ​​and “a flutter of wings and fauna in motion,” says Lara Gilmore, art collector and co-author with her husband, the chef Massimo Bottura, from the book Slow Food, Fast Cars (Slow food, fast cars; Phaidon, 2024). In this part of the Italian countryside, where the Parmigiano Reggiano, Ferrari and Maserati were born, is Casa Maria Luigia, the true protagonist of the work, named in honor of Bottura’s mother.

The idyllic 18th century guest house with 12 uniquely styled rooms – frescoed ceilings with wooden beams, views of the garden and even one of Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe -, orchard, swimming pool, tennis court, a swing under an oak tree, a room with more than 7,000 vinyls from their collection and bicycles for excursions around the surroundings, was inaugurated by Bottura and Gilmore in 2019. It is part of a historic property that includes five buildings, including restaurants Al Gatto Verde and Francescana at Maria Luigia and a winery with more than 1,300 barrels, where they make their own balsamic vinegar. In ML House They offer delicious homemade food – which they make themselves -, local and seasonal, from the hand of Canadian chef Jessica Rosval, who began her career at Osteria Francescana in 2013.

The wood oven in which Jessica Rosval and her team cook focaccias, meats, fish and vegetables; roasted cauliflower, pears and apples.Michael Gardenia (Fusillo Lab)

Casa Maria Luigia also has an important exhibition of art objects, avant-garde design, automobiles and motorcycles. Among the former, works such as Dropping an Urn from the Han Dynasty stand out, a triptych by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made with Lego pieces that recalls Bottura’s approach to traditional Italian recipes—which, according to Gilmore, first “breaks and then collect the pieces to remake them. “This is how it brings the best of the past to the future”—the installation Truth by Jack Pierson, one of Duane Hanson’s hyperrealist sculptures or the banner of the Operazione Difesa della Natura by Joseph Beuys. “The works of art at Casa ML do not have posters or descriptions,” says Gilmore, who clarifies that the place is not a museum: “Art is only important if you want it to be, if you find some meaning in it or if you have a little of interest.”

The motorized part is displayed in The Playground, a multipurpose “games room” where you can also play pool or pinball, and includes Bottura’s collection of 14 Ducati motorcycles—some designed by the chef himself, a regular collaborator of the brand—and four cars. Among them, the Lamborghini Huracán EVO, a gift from Stefano Domenicali, former CEO of the brand, personalized with a yellow spot in honor of Oops! I dropped my lemon piea dessert born by accident when pastry chef Taka Kondo dropped an already plated cake, which has become one of the most iconic dishes in Bottura’s kitchen.

The staff of Casa Maria Luigia sharing a meal in the garden. Michael Gardenia (Fusillo Lab)

In addition to a cozy accommodation that exudes beauty in every corner, where you eat exceptionally well – their breakfasts based on sabayon with Marsala wine, chocolate and sage muffins, roasted vegetables in their wood oven, frittata or granola are “ a sacred ritual that does not allow modifications” and makes you feel “every morning as if it were Christmas,” says Rosval—, they also prepare their own flavored oils and vinegars, anchovies in brine, sauces, pickles, vegetables in oil and many other preserves whose Recipes can be found in the book. “Cooking has always had the power to tell stories. Having a pantry to store them, as if it were a library, is wonderful,” reflects the chef, whose creations invite you to reproduce the flavors and aromas of Emilia-Romagna at home.

Four house recipes

Revisions of traditional dishes coexist with unique creations made with local ingredients. The Italian Emilia-Romagna, on a plate.

Fried gnocco dish with mortadella, ricotta and extra-old balsamic vinegar.Michael Gardenia (Fusillo Lab)

Roasted pears with saba


For 6 people: 3 pears, 120 grams of cane sugar, 6 tablespoons
saba (reduced grape must),
4 sprigs of rosemary, 1 pinch of
flaked sea salt.


Heat the oven to 220 degrees. Cut each pear into eight wedges, remove the cores and seeds and place in an oven-safe container with the cut side facing up. Spread the sugar, four tablespoons of saba and one of water to prevent them from drying out. Place the rosemary sprigs between the pear pieces. Roast until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes on a conventional grill. Remove from the oven, add the remaining two tablespoons of saba, sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

Cauliflower with parmigiano cream


For 8 people: 300 grams of heavy cream, 200 grams of whole milk, 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt, 350 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano (36 months cured), 1 kilo of cauliflower sprigs, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper .


Preheat oven to 180 degrees. In a saucepan, mix the cream with the milk and salt and bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano while blending with a blender until fine. Place the cauliflower in an oven-safe container. Cover with the cream, making sure that all the sprigs are well covered, season with the pepper. Bake until the cream turns a nice golden brown and the cauliflower is tender, 12 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Apples with honey and cinnamon


For 8 people: 3 Pink Lady apples, 150 grams of cane sugar, 80 grams of wildflower honey,
4-5 cinnamon sticks, 1 pinch of salt
in flakes.


Heat the oven to 220 degrees. Cut each apple into eight wedges, remove the cores and seeds and place in an oven-safe container with the cut side facing up. Distribute the sugar, honey and a tablespoon of water to prevent them from drying out. Place the cinnamon sticks between the apple pieces. Roast until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Fried ‘gnocco’


For 16 units: 7 grams of brewer’s yeast or active dry yeast, 165 grams of sparkling water, 130 grams of heavy cream, 12 grams of olive oil, 600 grams of 00 flour, 15 grams of salt, vegetable oil for frying .


Mix the yeast with the sparkling water, cream and olive oil. Add the flour little by little and knead until the dough coheres (it will not be thin). Salt and knead for another minute (it will still not be homogeneous, nothing happens). Wrap in film and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours. After time, take it out and stretch it on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately one centimeter thick. Fold the dough over itself in three and repeat the operation four times in total. Wrap and return to the refrigerator for another 12 hours. Stretch and fold once more. Roll out with a rolling pin until it is three millimeters thick and cut into squares of about eight centimeters (there should be 16). Pour 10 centimeters of vegetable oil into a tall, thick-bottomed pot and heat to 180 degrees. Line a tray with kitchen paper. In batches, place the dough squares in the hot oil. When they have puffed up and the corners are lightly browned, carefully turn them over and let them brown on that side as well. Transfer to the prepared tray to drain. Serve accompanied by mortadella, ricotta and extra-old balsamic vinegar.